The first part in a series of blogs designed to support your training this winter.
Written by Dave Morris – BASI trainer, Podium race coach & New Generation 1650 Resort Manager.
As a trainee, it is really important to not confound the nature what you are doing with the nature of what you are training for. It is an important distinction to understand from as early as you possibly can.
There are effectively two ways of looking at skiing; from the
- sporting perspective
- the recreational perspective.
As ski instructors we are generally dealing with the latter. This is because we are generally dealing with tourists/ holiday makers of varying athletic abilities, over short time periods and seeing as skiing is often a once a year affair, then we are generally teaching gross motor patterns rather than refining the more subtle points of a movement made.
As trainees, however, it is better to align yourself with the former.
For instance, if we take learning a move such as a backhand in tennis; there is a world of difference between the backhand practice that Andy Murray trains and the backhand introduced to someone who has enrolled on a 3 day holiday tennis course for beginners. Whereas the holiday maker is learning the very nuts and bolts of it, the basic steps if you like, Andy Murray learned that stuff twenty years ago but he is still tweaking and refining his backhand to help him out under more pressure, variation and intensity.
When we are training for a technical exam, we need to appreciate how skills are learned. In fact, ‘learned’ with a full stop misleadingly indicates something finite that is acquired never to go away. In fact, that is not quite true; we can get worse at things again if they are not practiced and we can heighten our skill threshold by training the same skill under increasingly harder conditions. A skill maybe learned in an instant to a rudimentary level but a skilful performance can always be trained to improve further and further. When a trainer has identified something to change, then it may be several sessions, weeks, months to make the change and make it part of your skiing. Learning the basic steps of a backhand may take a one hour session; having a respectable backhand under match conditions takes considerably longer. Learning to control the chest and shoulders in a fast medium radius turn has a similar story.
In short, ally yourself more with an athlete training his discipline rather than a holiday maker learning a basic manoeuvre. Establish what you need to change and set about logically and patiently working towards it. Practice without expecting a ‘eureka moment’ to always arrive on the next run. Practice something properly and take stock after a realistic period of time, say two weeks.
Expecting magic, instant results is the path of the misguided and can lead only to frustration!
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